Far from the eagerly anticipated and globally televised event it is today, the first Academy Awards ceremony took place out of the public eye during an Academy banquet at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. Two hundred seventy people attended the May 16, 1929 dinner in the hotel's Blossom Room; guest tickets cost $5. And there was little suspense when the awards were presented that night, as the recipients had already been announced three months earlier.
That all changed the following year, however, when the Academy kept the results secret until the ceremony but gave a list in advance to newspapers for publication at 11 p.m. on the night of the Awards. This policy continued until 1940 when, much to the Academy's surprise, the Los Angeles Times broke the embargo and published the names of the winners in its evening edition – which was readily available to guests arriving for the ceremony. That prompted the Academy in 1941 to adopt the sealed-envelope system still in use today.
As the event grew in size, banquets became impractical and the event moved from banquet room to a theater venue beginning with the 16th Oscar ceremony in 1942, held at Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. Since 2001, the Oscar ceremony has been held in Hollywood’s Dolby Theatre, just steps from the historic Chinese Theatre.
In 1953, the first televised Oscar ceremony enabled millions throughout the United States and Canada to watch the proceedings. Broadcasting in color began in 1966, affording home viewers a chance to fully experience the dazzling allure of the event. Since 1969, the Oscar show has been broadcast internationally, now reaching movie fans in over 200 countries.
As the world marches forward, so has the Oscars. Oscar.com has long been an online companion to the broadcast, and Oscar’s 2011’s second screen experience garnered the Emmy Award for Outstanding Creative Achievement in Interactive Media. As time-honored Oscar traditions keep in step with new technology, 2014 Oscar content will be available on a multitude of devices to complement the 86th Academy Awards, airing LIVE Oscar Sunday Mar 2 7e|4p on ABC.